Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #7: Combat Units 2

Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #7: Combat Units 2

  • Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Tombles

Prince of Gameplay
1 Badges
Jun 12, 2018
2.886
157
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
Hello all! This is our 3rd combat dev diary, and today we’re looking at two more units, this time from the Dvar and Amazon races! These units sit in the same place in the roster as last week’s units, they are the first tier 2 combat unit their races can unlock.


The Dvar Bulwark

While most Dvar combat units are based on modified industrial machinery, the Bulwark is a dedicated gunnery platform designed to guard Dvar facilities against thieves and aggressive native fauna. As a sop to the idea that not all threats require lethal force, the Bulwark can fire non-lethal rounds, but its main function is to put as many bullets into as many things as possible.

Bulwark.png



The Bulwarks main armaments are its autocannons, high damage no-frill ranged weapons with the simple purpose of killing whatever they are pointed at. While the autocannons can be fired actively, their main strength comes from being used in Overwatch. Typically a unit in Overwatch will fire a number of shots at a target equal to the number of action points it had when it entered Overwatch. So, a unit might move, and then enter Overwatch with 2 AP remaining, giving it two shots at the first thing to enter it’s overwatch zone. The Bulwark’s Unlimited Overwatch means that the unit always fires 3 shots (the maximum) regardless of action points, it also means the unit can fire on more than one unit during overwatch (normally a unit will leave overwatch after attacking). Putting out this volume of fire does apply a penalty to the weapons accuracy, but this is small price to pay for the volume of damage the unit is capable of.


As a secondary attack, the Bulwark can also fire off a concussive volley, a ranged attack with a very high chance to stun and biological or cyborg unit it hits for a single turn.


Looking at the rest of the unit card:


  • 40hp and 2 armor make this a fairly typical tier 2 unit in terms on defense
  • 24mp puts this unit at the low end for move speed, which is common for Dvar units. This is more an issue for the world map, Dvar armies are strong but take a longer time to get to were they need to be.
  • All Dvar units gain a morale bonus in Arid terrain
  • Being mechanical makes the Bulwark resist psionic damage, but weak to arc attacks.

The Amazon Lancer


Typically deployed to patrol the vast forests where the Amazon’s conduct their research, Lancers are the pinnacle of self sufficiency. The Arrowtails they ride do not require fuel, and their laser weapons do not require ammunition, allowing Lancer’s to remain deployed for extended periods without support.

Lancer.png


The lancer’s main armament is actually closer to a glaive then a traditional lance. It’s a fearsome melee weapon, and can also be used to shoot out a medium laser blast. As is typical of melee units, the Lancer will automatically go into melee overwatch at the end of its turn, giving it single a free attack against any opponent who moves or acts in an adjacent hex. Its melee attacks also stagger opponents, which further increases the unit’s potential for disrupting enemy formations.


In combat, lancer groups typically use wolf pack tactics. One group of lancers will approach the enemy head on, relying on their energy bucklers to protect them from incoming fire. While the target is distracted, other lancers will use their superior mobility to move into flanking positions, where they can maximize their damage.


Looking at the rest of the unit card:


  • 50hp, 1 armor and 3 shields make this the tankiest tier 2 unit we have seen so far. However, Energy Buckler is front facing, meaning it loses its shields when flanked. Shields also do not protect a unit against melee attacks.
  • 40mp makes this unit one of the fastest things on the battlefield.
  • The Flanker ability means that the unit does an extra 25% damage on all flanking attacks (on top of the 20% bonus that units normally receive).
  • Amazons are all experts in Forest Warfare, they get morale bonuses when they fight in forests (Forest Affinity) and can move more quickly through them (Expedited Movement Forest)
  • Like the Vanguard, Amazons prefer Arcadian terrain, and also get a morale bonus from that.

Quick Q&A


It’s been pointed out that there’s still a huge list of questions that I left unanswered last week. I won’t be able to answer all the questions, because we still have a lot of dev diaries to write, but I can answer a couple more now!


Is it still defender gets to move first, attacker gets to retreat?


Yes! Defenders and their allies always go before the attackers, and only attackers may retreat. We don’t let defenders retreat because we can’t prevent the attacker just attacking them again, which would lead to a lot of frustration.


Is there combat concealment or is it abstracted so, for example, a unit in a wheatfield ("cover") gets extra defence?


There is no fog of war in combat, you will always be able to see where all the enemies units are. However, there are things like long grass on the battle field which provide a defensive bonus to the light units within them (they get harder to hit). Heavy units cannot make use of these bonuses however, typically they destroy things like wheat fields when they move onto them.



Will there be impassable terrain in combat, e.g. stretches of river? If so, will there be units/abilities that bypass this?


Yes, there will be chasms, indestructible rocks and other types of blocking terrain in combat. You’ll be able to get past them by flying or floating. A very small number of units also have the ability to simply move through obstacles.



And that’s it for this week! Next week we’ll be going back to the World Map.
 

Fenraellis

Field Marshal
14 Badges
May 20, 2016
2.540
2
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Stellaris
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Cities in Motion 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Magicka
It's good to see Flanking clarified. A unit doing +45% damage on a flank is quite a doozy. Also, it was quite nice to see the shield bonus being applied to the unit's statline, rather than being conditional and only seen when mousing over to attack it.
 

Quark02

Captain
2 Badges
Jun 15, 2018
325
1
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
The Amazon Lancer


Typically deployed to patrol the vast forests where the Amazon’s conduct their research, Lancers are the pinnacle of self sufficiency. The Arrowtails they ride do not require fuel, and their laser weapons do not require ammunition, allowing Lancer’s to remain deployed for extended periods without support.
This is such an odd, and yet particular statement that I must ask.

What does this mean exactly? That the Bulwarks can run out of fuel if they are in hostile sectors? That the Bulwark can run out of ammo in the middle of a battle? That the wheelbike from last week can run out of juice and get dumped at the side of the road while the occupant goes out scavenging for space batteries?

It is cool to see the Amazons of all species wielding what amounts to fancy Goa'uld staff weapons on arrowtailback.

On design notes:
Have you wondered about putting the red down arrow and green up arrow at the symbol/amount reduced/weaknessed. ie have the arrow at the 4 purple snails rather than at the "Psionic Weakness" text?
Does the descriptive text have to be right-aligned? Would it look better (especially in a sci-fi setting as opposed to fantasy) justified? Would it make it easier to read?
 

Dwarfurious

Corporal
17 Badges
May 31, 2018
31
0
  • Knights of Pen and Paper 2
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Knights of Honor
  • Stellaris
  • Magicka 2 - Signup Campaign
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • A Game of Dwarves
  • Magicka
  • Lead and Gold
  • Dungeonland
why in the unspeakable hells is a lady on a dino/dude in a bicycle more armored than an actual armored mechs? Why does media hate armor so much >: /
 

Tombles

Prince of Gameplay
1 Badges
Jun 12, 2018
2.886
157
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
What does this mean exactly? That the Bulwarks can run out of fuel if they are in hostile sectors? That the Bulwark can run out of ammo in the middle of a battle? That the wheelbike from last week can run out of juice and get dumped at the side of the road while the occupant goes out scavenging for space batteries?
I guess I should have said this more clearly, but the thing about self-sufficiency is just to explain why they ride creatures instead of using vehicles. There's no in game refueling and maintenance mechanics that actually simulate what I'm talking about there!

I'll pass your comments on about the interface, I agree that having the arrows by the numbers themselves would be clearer!

why in the unspeakable hells is a lady on a dino/dude in a bicycle more armored than an actual armored mechs? Why does media hate armor so much >: /
The Bulwark has twice as much armor as the Lancer! The Lancer has mostly shields, rather than armor.

But the main reason is simply balance. The bulwark is designed to stand at a distance and shoot everything that comes into range, so it gets a fairly normal amount of defense. The lancer is a close range unit that needs to really get into the middle of the enemy to be useful, if it wasn't as tanky as it is, then it would just die before it could really achieve anything.

Edit: Also, creatures like the arrowtail are usually given Armor in game, to represent hardened hides and things like that that resist damage.
 

LordTheRon

Dire Penguin Master
34 Badges
May 22, 2012
824
32
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • BATTLETECH
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • 500k Club
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Warlock 2: The Exiled
  • Warlock 2: Wrath of the Nagas
Bulwark has 2 armour and Lancer 1 so the Bulwark has more armour, though not that much.

Intrigued by the no need for fuel too. We’ll surely get some sort of attrition system then.

Okay, ninja’d by Tombles. Thus no attrition/refuelling system.
 

Quark02

Captain
2 Badges
Jun 15, 2018
325
1
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
I guess I should have said this more clearly, but the thing about self-sufficiency is just to explain why they ride creatures instead of using vehicles. There's no in game refueling and maintenance mechanics that actually simulate what I'm talking about there!
Aha, just a comment about animals not needing food (those lizards can forage anywhere, right) as part of the maintenance then.
But I get it, just something for the lore books, nothing to do with actual game mechanics. Seemed somewhat noticably phrased, hence the question.

Interesting to note the return of wheatfields from AoW1. Can they be set ablaze to smoke out any sneaky bug snipers? (If yes,) Does the fire persist over turns rather than destroy the wheat hex in a single turn? Does the fire spread to adjacent wheat? Can this fiery attitude have a potential influence to the sector itself (ie you burn all wheatfields in combat, the sector now produces k% less food/hops/pot than it normally does for n turns)?
 

Jolly Joker

Colonel
On Probation
15 Badges
Mar 29, 2012
940
16
  • Galactic Assault
  • Lost Empire - Immortals
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • 500k Club
  • BATTLETECH
  • BATTLETECH - Digital Deluxe Edition
  • BATTLETECH: Flashpoint
  • Prison Architect
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • BATTLETECH: Season pass
While I also balked at first when I read "no refueling" - but on second thought it makes sense, because "fuel" is just a special case of "supply". Machines need refueling, living rides must feed which basically amounts to the same thing.
 

Tombles

Prince of Gameplay
1 Badges
Jun 12, 2018
2.886
157
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
Okay, ninja’d by Tombles. Thus no attrition/refuelling system.
There were thoughts of adding a refueling system when we added aircraft, similar to how the civ games do it, but in the end, our game is about charging around with armies and killing things, and adding too many things that punish that gameplay can really undermine the whole game. There are some things, like units heal faster in home terrain, and we're investigating a system where spending too much time locked in distant wars affects your empire's happiness, but those are for later dev diaries.

Interesting to note the return of wheatfields from AoW1. Can they be set ablaze to smoke out any sneaky bug snipers? (If yes,) Does the fire persist over turns rather than destroy the wheat hex in a single turn? Does the fire spread to adjacent wheat?
This has been requested! I don't know if we'll add it though, since it's a ton of work and the actual amount of terrain in game that would use the system is very low.
 

Tombles

Prince of Gameplay
1 Badges
Jun 12, 2018
2.886
157
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
While I also balked at first when I read "no refueling" - but on second thought it makes sense, because "fuel" is just a special case of "supply". Machines need refueling, living rides must feed which basically amounts to the same thing.
Sure! In lore terms, the ides is that creatures can eat what is scavenged from the forests they travel through.
 

Quark02

Captain
2 Badges
Jun 15, 2018
325
1
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
Just there might be terrain in which it is difficult or impossible to find the particular food the bioengineered lizards would find tasty. It is better off not to put that kind of complexity into the game (I'd hate to get a message saying "Your space-koala died of hunger in the volcano-esque enemy territory").
 

Fenraellis

Field Marshal
14 Badges
May 20, 2016
2.540
2
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Stellaris
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Cities in Motion 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Magicka
I think he was asking relative to the Assault Bike's 4 armor (still an apparently standard value of 2, when flanked).

Three questions/observations, after further reflection:
1. Considering how heavily armored she is otherwise, why is the Amazon depicted as barefoot?
2. People who are concerned about the Bulwark's lack of armor, should think about the fact that it has the highest damage-per-round of any unit thus far shown. Even the Phoenix walker does less single-target damage(well, potentially not in melee, but still). That's not even counting the potential of Unlimited Overwatch's damage output. Albeit this comes at a cost to accuracy, but still.

3. This is a longer one.
Is the flanking damage multiplier(+Flanker bonus) added as a multiplier to the number spit out by the damage reduction formula (D = I x 0.9^R), or less likely, added directly on top of the percentage value that comes from 0.9^R. Consider the examples below:

A 2-armor unit, such as a Bulwark, or an Assault Bike with Exposed Flanks, would take 81% damage:
81% * 1.2 = 97.2%
81% + 20% = 101%
(or for a unit with the Flanker trait)
81% * 1.45 = 117.45
81% + 45% = 126%

A 4-armor unit, would take 65.61 percent damage:
65.61% * 1.2 = 78.732%
65.61% + 20% = 85.61%
(or for a unit with the Flanker trait)
65.61% * 1.45 = 95.13%
65.61% + 45% = 110.61%

An 8-armor unit, such as the Phoenix Walker, would take roughly 43% damage:
43% * 1.2 = 51.65
43% + 20% = 63%
(or for a unit with the Flanker trait)
43% * 1.45 = 62.4%
43% + 45% = 88%

Heck, a 12 defense rating unit, which takes about 28.24% even goes with:
28.24 * 1.2 = 33.89%
28.24 + 20% = 48.24%
(or for a unit with the Flanker trait)
28.24% * 1.45 = 40.95%
28.24% + 45% = 73.24%

...I kind of went a bit overboard, but suffice to say, I'm curious if Flanking modifies the calculation on the 'I' portion, or the (0.9^R) end of the formula (D = I x 0.9^R). So, where 'F' equals the flanking modifier:
D= I x F x 0.9^R
or
D = 1 x (0.9^R + F)

The latter situation would certainly mean that flanking attacks are super critical for dealing with tough foes, especially in the case of units with the Flanker attribute, which can deal roughly 30% more damage on the calculation by the latter formula than the former. I can't say whether that's a good idea game-mechanics wise, for Flanking to go from 'useful extra damage' to 'almost 1.8 to 2.6 times more damage) on defense values as high as 12, rather as they may be circumstantially, but it's certainly a thought.

p.s. I'm guessing it's the much simpler D = I x F x 0.9^R, as that becomes less gamey for people to focus on. 20% more damage is good, but not something to always shoot for, but even on a 4 armor unit, the other formula becomes a roughly 33% increase relative to a non-flanking attack.

This is also all assuming the the Flanker trait is additive on top of the flanking bonus of 20%, for a total of 45%, rather than 1.2x1.25 = 1.5.
 

Tombles

Prince of Gameplay
1 Badges
Jun 12, 2018
2.886
157
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
The damage bonus from flanking (and almost every other damage bonus) is added to the incoming damage that feeds into the damage formula you have. So, the laser lance strike has an effective damage of 18 when used from flanking (i.e. +45%).This means that that lancer has the highest single target damage of any of the units shown, (54 per turn), while the bulwark has the highest potential damage (33 per unit that moves through overwatch).

I think he was asking relative to the Assault Bike's 4 armor (still an apparently standard value of 2, when flanked).
It's a fair question! When I was reviewing the units for this dev diary, it actually had an armor of 3, but I reduced it to 2 since I was worried that it was too strong... It's quite possible it will edge back up! It really depends on how much of a penalty the low move speed it has turns out being in real games.
 

mr_stibbons

Second Lieutenant
14 Badges
May 21, 2018
167
3
  • Stellaris
  • BATTLETECH
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic
  • Age of Wonders
  • Age of Wonders II
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
So, what will happen if a unit gets hit by a stagger attack in the middle of an action, like through lancer overwatch? If a 3ap move order is given, and you get staggered partway, where do you end up? And if you order a point blank 3ap attack, then get punched in the face, does that attack still go off?

Sure! In lore terms, the ides is that creatures can eat what is scavenged from the forests they travel through.
Maybe replace the morale boost in forests with bonus healing like goblins have with wetlands, if we want to represent this ability?
 

Fenraellis

Field Marshal
14 Badges
May 20, 2016
2.540
2
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Stellaris
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Season pass
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Cities in Motion 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Magicka
Well, 54 per turn when flanking a heavy or greater unit(thus a unit that can't turn to deal with a flank), but yeah. So, I guess it's D = I x F x 0.9^R . Good to know. I think that's a more smooth way to do it, game mechanics wise, and obviously so did you guys.

EDIT: mr_stibbons, don't forget that they also have Expedited Movement (Forest). Besides, morale can be pretty useful sometimes. With any luck, their cities will either count, or through a building or research option be able to count, as forest tiles, too.

Kind of like the Shadow Magic city upgrade for Elves, but not with the arguably pointless(because of domain borders) feature of concealing your city.
 
Last edited:

Tombles

Prince of Gameplay
1 Badges
Jun 12, 2018
2.886
157
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
So, what will happen if a unit gets hit by a stagger attack in the middle of an action, like through lancer overwatch? If a 3ap move order is given, and you get staggered partway, where do you end up? And if you order a point blank 3ap attack, then get punched in the face, does that attack still go off?
If you get staggered while doing something, then what you're doing will get cut short. If a unit is moving, it might end up stood out of cover, with no move points left. If a unit is attacking, then it might lose 1 or more subsequent attacks. With a 3AP attack, overwatch goes off after the first attack, so the stagger will come too late to prevent the attack.
 

Quark02

Captain
2 Badges
Jun 15, 2018
325
1
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
Bulwark: Concussive Volley indicates multiple shots ("Volley"), yet they are all directed at the same unit? So does it make 3 shots with each shot having a x% of stunning an unit? Or a flat % with the animation making multiple shots?
 

Tombles

Prince of Gameplay
1 Badges
Jun 12, 2018
2.886
157
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
It's a single attack! We might need to change the name of the ability :)
 

Gloweye

Major
19 Badges
Mar 11, 2017
604
4
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Magicka
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sign Up
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Age of Wonders
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury Pre-order
About the different tile types in combat, AoW1 had it. If you fought on a road, staying on the road took 3 MP per hex while getting into the grass took 4. Small hills took 6 MP.

Could we have that again in combat maps ? I really missed it in AoW3.